We could decrease death in America at a rate of 1. 4 in 100,000 people by lowering the legal drinking age. The death rate by alcohol per 100,000 people in America is 1. 6, making it 49
in the world. The death rate by alcohol per 100,000 people in Italy is 0. 2, making it 163 in the world. The major difference in alcohol consumption between America and Italy is that in America it is illegal to buy alcohol under the age of 21, while Italians over the age of 16 are allowed to purchase fermented drinks, like beer and wine. As a child who grew up in Italy, I was familiar with alcohol from a young age. From drinking communion wine at church to sipping champagne at New YearБs Eve and being able to buy alcohol by the summer after tenth grade, I was never in awe of it. It was just a part of life, like cars and pasta and teachers. Potentially damaging in too large a dose, but overall not bad. Coming back to America as a college student was a bit of a shock, because suddenly it was illegal for me to touch alcohol. I could lose my license for driving with the tiniest hint of alcohol in my blood. My parents could go to jail for offering me a sip of champagne on New YearБs Eve.
My future could disintegrate in front of my eyes if I were in the wrong situation at the wrong time. birthday, the bigger of a deal it became. I go to a school where we sign contracts saying we wonБt drink while weБre enrolled, but there is an underground network of people who drink. For the months leading up to my birthday, I was bombarded with questions: БAre you excited you can drink now? Б (from those who donБt attend the school) БHave you decided whether youБre going to drink? Б (from people at my school) БMake sure you stay safe and donБt drive,Б (from those who didnБt care either way but wanted to make sure I didnБt die) And that in itself was a big thing. The thought that going out for a drink could result in my death how have we, as a culture, come to a place where that is an acceptable and normal thing to worry about? It does not have to be that way. My friends in Italy didnБt spend their weekends going out to get drunk for the fun of it. My friends in America think getting drunk is a high form of entertainment, possibly the highest. Perhaps if they had been exposed to alcohol at an earlier age, it would not present itself as such an intoxicating, unreachable thing.
If the drinking age in America were lower, children might be forced to first experience alcohol with their parents, in safe places like their own homes. Italian children know what alcohol is from the time they are young, and when they turn 16 and are allowed to buy it, it doesnБt present the same temptation it does for American children. By the time I turned 21 and was allowed to legally drink in America, I had been drinking for years. I had tasted beer, whiskey and wine. The prospect of going out to get a drink didnБt thrill me to my core it was more like being able to go see a movie. Italian children are allowed to buy their drinks while they are still under their parentsБ control. This gives the parents the ability to say when they can go out and drink, who they can drink with and how much they can drink. By the time Americans start buying, they are independent and can drink whatever they want with whoever they want whenever they want. ThatБs a lot of power, and I donБt believe they are raised to be able to handle it. Alcohol accounts for a large percentage of all traffic deaths in the United States.
It is a huge concern, and should be treated as one. Students should be educated about it the same way they are educated about sex, and the drinking age should be lowered to allow parents to oversee their childrenБs first drinks. Simple measures like these could decrease drinking deaths exponentially. According to the federal study Monitoring the Future, underage drinking. From 1977 to 2007, the percentage of 12 graders drinking at least monthly fell from 70 percent to 45 percentalmost immediately after the law was enacted, and lastingly. Fatal car crashes involving drunk young adults dipped 32 percent, resulting in 1,000 fewer lives lost per year. Impressively, this decrease occurred ; the mere presence of the law was protective. The relationship is likely causal. 1999, by comparison, New Zealand lowered the drinking age from 20 to 18, and whileP,Pthey declined far less than in the overall population. Today, all major public health authorities, including the American Medical Association, Centers for Disease Control, National Highway Traffic Safety Board, and surgeon general, support the higher drinking age.